FanDuel - WFBC

October 14, 2007

Video Surfaces of Joey Porter-Levi Jones Fight: Fox Sports has obtained video of the brawl between the Dolphins linebacker and Bengals tackle that took place at the The Palms casino in Las Vegas last March. The video shows, as Jones said at the time, that it was a group attack. Jones' agent tells the network, "Levi has retained a Las Vegas attorney right after the fight but we just recently obtained the tape. He is now weighing his legal options." See the video.

posted by rcade to football at 02:15 PM - 91 comments

I smell an Ocean's Fourteen in the future. All the casino security must have been busy looking for Afflecks, lithe Asian gymnasts, etc. I would have thought, even with the size of the people involved, they would stop something like that quickly.

posted by yerfatma at 02:41 PM on October 14

Agreed. That brawl went on for much longer than what would be expected.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:03 PM on October 14

Joey Porter is a thug douchebag who should be banned from the NFL for this. Commissioner Godell could very easily rule Porter and his band of merry assholes were deliberately trying to take out a fellow player to make it easier for Porter on the field. Not saying that's what was going on, but he could use that as an excuse to run his sorry ass out of Dodge. Too bad that cap Porter took in the ass a while back didn't hit him in the head.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:07 PM on October 14

I can't stand Joey Porter, but do you seriously: 1. Think someone should be banned from the NFL for fist fights? 2. Wish he was dead?

posted by yerfatma at 04:17 PM on October 14

A tad harsh, Frazer. Jones wasn't even hospitalized and none of the many bystanders was hurt. After seeing the fight, I'm surprised that all Porter got from Commissioner Goodell was a $141,176 fine (three game checks). I wonder if he told the full truth about the fight to the league when they met on the matter last spring.

posted by rcade at 04:54 PM on October 14

I can't stand Joey Porter, but do you seriously: 1. Think someone should be banned from the NFL for fist fights? 2. Wish he was dead? In response: 1. This is a "fistfight" the way the Jena episode was a "fistfight". Porter brought a bunch of guys in to lay an asswhuppin' on Jones. That's aggravated assault. And since it was directed at another player in the NFL, yes, he should be banned. Would you tolerate it if he showed up the night before a game and took out the opposition's best O lineman? 2. Not particularly, but I also have no reason to wish him to remain alive.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:02 PM on October 14

I'm with you wfrazer on the banning. While it may be an odd comparison, I can't help but think of Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan. One tried to take the other out. Lifetime ban wasn't it? (I could wikipedia it, but can't be bothered.) When womens figure skating has harsher penalties than the NFL... That's a little odd. As for number 2 on your list... Funny stuff.:)

posted by Drood at 05:18 PM on October 14

I'm with you wfrazer on the banning. While it may be an odd comparison, I can't help but think of Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan. Not even close to the same thing. You mean to compare a premeditated club to the knee of someone you're directly competing with in the Olympics is the same as an off season spontaneous fight that occurred between 2 guys who aren't even going to face each other this year? It's not like Joey was targeting him because he wanted to get a competitive advantage in a game.

posted by bdaddy at 07:05 PM on October 14

"...fight that occurred between 2 guys..." You might want to do a recount.

posted by BlueCarp at 07:19 PM on October 14

an off season spontaneous fight that occurred between 2 guys Spontaneous and two guys, my ass. Joey Porter had that shit planned out. His ass new he needed some help,because he is nothing but a bitch in the NFL anymore, and would have got his ass kicked had he tried that one on one. To top it all off he isn't doing all that great in Miami. Zach Thomas has twice his numbers with two fewer games! Just give Joey some more rope, he'll do the rest. On review the above is not a knock on Zach Thomas. It's meant as a pat on the back for doubling Joey's numbers, in two fewer games.

posted by jojomfd1 at 10:05 PM on October 14

Spontaneous and two guys, my ass. Joey Porter had that shit planned out. Which is kinda the point I was making. This wasn't just some random brawl. Pre-meditation seems to be going on, which opens up a whole other kettle of hamsters.

posted by Drood at 06:56 AM on October 15

Which is kinda the point I was making. This wasn't just some random brawl. Pre-meditation seems to be going on, which opens up a whole other kettle of hamsters. so Joey and the guys decided to take a trip to Vegas to take out a member of the Browns to gain a competitive advantage against a guy Joey may only see once more and for a team against which he had something like a 14-3 record? I just don't see it. Seems obvious to me it's an instance of thug behavior where Joey and Levi met in a public place, started mouthing at each other about old hostilities, it came to blows, and Joey's friends just acted on their thug behavior by jumping in to help their boy who was getting beat down.

posted by bdaddy at 08:57 AM on October 15

How often does a spontaneous fight erupt where six or seven people jump one guy? From what little is visible on the security video, it doesn't look like a fight that began with two people and escalated into a group. Besides -- how dumb would Jones be to begin a fight with those odds? Goodell should bring Porter and Jones back in for another come-to-Jesus meeting, and if there's any element of premeditation in the incident, Porter ought to be suspended for a few games. As an aside, does anyone else think there's an undeniable racial component to deriding a bunch of black men as thugs? People can say that their actions fit the characterization, but I think it goes further and suggests that they're gangbangers or criminals. Neither of which has been established.

posted by rcade at 09:23 AM on October 15

Not gangbangers or criminals, but an entourage of thugs. They gang up and suckerpunch a guy in a casino. That's thuggish behavior. The connection of this group of thugs to gangbangers and criminals, and the extension of it to any bunch of black men, is your own. Though others may see it, too, the "undeniable racial component" is of your own invention.

posted by Hugh Janus at 10:02 AM on October 15

Rcade, Are you channeling Bishop. I havent seen his posts here in a while. IT was thugish behavior. If tom brady and his boyz attacked someone, that would be thugish criminal behavior too. They are Thugs that happen to be black. Not thugs because they are black. Dont be that guy.

posted by Debo270 at 10:49 AM on October 15

I don't think there's an "undeniable racial component to deriding a bunch of black men as thugs", per se, but I don't think that rcade was saying the term never applies to black men, either. I think there is still a regrettable (and generally unconscious and unexamined) tendency to react to stories of black men committing violence with a sort of, "Well, of course," reaction. Of course, the same often goes for teenaged males of all races -- I think that people have some of the same, "Well, of course" reaction when they hear of a group of teenagers involved in a scrap.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:11 AM on October 15

Them's some large men tusslin'. Things always seem to look worse on video - I would suggest that it's clearly an assault, but I wouldn't hang Porter for attempted murder or anything.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:05 PM on October 15

Them's some large men tusslin'. I keep seeing the question "WHERE WAS SECURITY?" I dont know how well they pay security, but if that fight happened at the bar I used to bounce at, I think I would let them swing themselves out first. Porter at a ripped 250 may be the smallest guy involved.

posted by Debo270 at 12:33 PM on October 15

2 guys who aren't even going to face each other this year? Also, y'might want to check week 17. So Odell Thurman of the Bengals gets a years suspension for his DUI, and now has been denied reinstatement by Goodell for a second season. No real reason given by Goodell's office or the Bengals. And Joey Porter suits up and plays every Sunday after commiting a felony on film. Curious...

posted by tahoemoj at 12:53 PM on October 15

What I don't understand is why Porter and his entourage of thugs have not been charged with assault and battery? If the Las Vegas police didn't have enough evidence before, they sure do now. This seems like yet another case of an athlete skating where anyone else would be facing arrest, loads of money on an attorney and possible jail time. I hope Jones sues him and takes all his money. His entourage will be gone before the money is withdrawn from the bank.

posted by cjets at 12:59 PM on October 15

When I said there's an undeniable racial component to describing black men as thugs, I did not mean that people who do this are racist. I meant that the term "thug," when applied to black men accused of wrongdoing, has an inflammatory racial connotation that makes it ill-advised to use in a discussion like this one. I think that's true regardless of the behavior of the people being described as thugs. Do a Google images search for the term "thug". Almost all of the results are pictures of black people. I could make the same argument about the term "monkey," but Howard Cosell cleared that one up for the sports world 30 years ago.

posted by rcade at 01:01 PM on October 15

if that fight happened at the bar I used to bounce at, I think I would let them swing themselves out first I'm guessing the bar you bounced at was bringing in millions of dollars a year from passing itself off as a classy establishment.

posted by yerfatma at 01:28 PM on October 15

I'm guessing the bar you bounced at was bringing in millions of dollars a year from passing itself off as a classy establishment. Actually, I would prefer the term hillbilly haven if you want to be politically correct. BUt it was a nice hillbilly haven

posted by Debo270 at 01:30 PM on October 15

That's funny; when I hear the word "thug," I think of goombahs.

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:38 PM on October 15

Goodfella style

posted by Debo270 at 01:42 PM on October 15

That's funny; when I hear the word "thug," I think of goombahs Goodfella style Me three. Maybe it's a tri-state area thing or a northeast thing, but there it is.

posted by cjets at 02:06 PM on October 15

Do a Google images search for the term "thug". Almost all of the results are pictures of black people. Maybe Google is racist.

posted by cjets at 02:34 PM on October 15

"Agreed. That brawl went on for much longer than what would be expected. posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 4:03 PM CDT on October 14" An understatement. What if one of those guys had a knife, the guy being attacked could have ended up dead. Looks like one security person finally jumped into the picture, looked like it was a woman, the fight seemed to have ended a few seconds after.

posted by Cave_Man at 04:47 PM on October 15

If one of them had a gun the fight could have lasted only a few seconds. If you're going to deal in "what ifs" you might as welll look at every scenario.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:06 PM on October 15

If you're going to deal in "what ifs" you might as welll look at every scenario. Yeah, what if they had nukes?

posted by irunfromclones at 05:49 PM on October 15

There probably wouldn't be a video.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:12 PM on October 15

My personal opinion is when you play at that level in sports and you do a bonehead move like that, you should be heavily disciplined then second offense outta the league...Period!!! It's high time all the bulls@#t in pro sports with these so called athletes (high grade hood thugs) stop!They need to make an example of these few offenders!!!Remember:when much is given much is excepted.

posted by chumpn80 at 07:44 PM on October 15

I mean expected.I'm a horrible multi-tasker..

posted by chumpn80 at 08:03 PM on October 15

This from the Online Etymology Dictionary thug 1810, "member of a gang of murderers and robbers in India who strangled their victims," from Marathi thag, thak "cheat, swindler," Hindi thag, perhaps from Skt. sthaga-s "cunning, fraudulent," possibly from sthagayati "(he) covers, conceals," from PIE base *(s)teg- "cover" (see stegosaurus). Transferred sense of "ruffian, cutthroat" first recorded 1839. The more correct Indian name is phanseegur, and the activity was described in Eng. as far back as c.1665. Rigorously prosecuted by the British from 1831, they were driven from existence, but the process extended over the rest of the 19c. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001 Douglas Harper I see no reference to race. If the shoe fits, wear it.

posted by Howard_T at 10:43 PM on October 15

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:57 AM on October 16

I see no reference to race. If the shoe fits, wear it. Yes, and I'm so very sure that 99.9% of the people using the term "thug" today are fully aware of its origins. But now it's time for a bedtime story! "Little Black Sambo", anybody?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:45 AM on October 16

I was calling hockey players thugs when 2Pac was at Baltimore School of the Arts learning how to act tough. Damn, he looks like Groucho.

posted by Hugh Janus at 09:31 AM on October 16

"Little Black Sambo", anybody? The original story was all about a boy from India who out-witted four tigers. Most credible literary experts will tell you that the original contained no racial overtones whatsoever. Some people took exception to the illustrator's concept of the boy, other people took that misconception and associated it with the name Sambo and certain ethnic groups. Wow. I love how people can foam and roar at some imagined slight magnified out of all proportion while at the same time ignoring the real issues.

posted by irunfromclones at 11:44 AM on October 16

(high grade hood thugs) Now you have a bona fide "racial slur" rcade! (do people even read the thread before posting?) TBH is that really a good example to use, nobody is calling him that. He coined that term himself, and made millions off of doing just that.

posted by jojomfd1 at 11:52 AM on October 16

I see no reference to race. If the shoe fits, wear it. In a world where people whip out their etymological dictionary before speaking to ensure precision of speech, that would be a great point, Howard. In this one, ask 99 out of 100 people what the term "thug" means today and you're not going to be told Indian bandits from the 16th century. I love how people can foam and roar at some imagined slight magnified out of all proportion while at the same time ignoring the real issues. I think language that reinforces stereotypes about black criminality is a real issue.

posted by rcade at 12:42 PM on October 16

The original story was all about a boy from India who out-witted four tigers. Most credible literary experts will tell you that the original contained no racial overtones whatsoever. That was exactly my point, irun: it meant one thing then, and it means something different now. Something's origins don't necessarily have a thing to do with the images that it calls to mind today. The "but it's an old Indian story!" argument has been used to try and dismiss the racial overtones that have come to be associated with "Little BlackSambo" in the United States...it's all hand-waviing, you know? Etymology and literary history are all very interesting, but you have to deal with present-day realities.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:43 PM on October 16

So Joey Porters real name is Sambo and he outsmarts lions. Wow i missed something!!!

posted by Debo270 at 01:00 PM on October 16

Sorry outsmart tigers. I guess not bengal tigers!! Hioooooooo!!!! Thank you folks. I'll be here all week.

posted by Debo270 at 01:29 PM on October 16

I could be wrong but is it not complete ignorance to thow out the actual history and meaning of something (Little Black Sambo in this instance) and say "it means this now 'cause I say so". Quit putting words in peoples mouths and minds. I am sick and tired of people telling me or anyone else what they "really mean" when they say something. Who the hell are you rcade and LBB to tell someone what they mean by their use of the word thug?

posted by Steel_Town at 01:31 PM on October 16

Totally agree with you steel town. Why are Pittsburghers the only ones with a clue. YINZ guys just dont understand anat.

posted by Debo270 at 01:49 PM on October 16

I could be wrong but is it not complete ignorance to thow out the actual history and meaning of something (Little Black Sambo in this instance) and say "it means this now 'cause I say so". Quit putting words in peoples mouths and minds. I am sick and tired of people telling me or anyone else what they "really mean" when they say something. Who the hell are you rcade and LBB to tell someone what they mean by their use of the word thug? Are you seriously telling me that the first image you conjure upon hearing the word "thug" is a little Indian boy fighting tigers and not that photo of 2Pac? Now I think you are arguing just for the sake of the argument.

posted by hawkguy at 01:51 PM on October 16

Who the hell are you rcade and LBB to tell someone what they mean by their use of the word thug? Uhm, they're people having a discussion about opinion. Are you such a prescriptivist you don't believe the meaning of language never evolves over time?

posted by yerfatma at 01:51 PM on October 16

yerfatma, Anyone can have any opinion you want just stop telling us what our opinion is.

posted by Debo270 at 01:57 PM on October 16

I think we're talking apples and oranges, people. Little Black Sambo has become a racially charged term and has been for some time. It is on a level with many other anti-black descriptors. OK, that's the apples. Now let's get back to THUG. The word Thug, in my experience, has been used to describe, a criminal of any type (though commonly used, as mentioned above, to describe those in the Mafia). But the term, more or less, has been used to any knee breaker type without regard to race. It's true that some in the rap/hip-hop community have appropriated the term Thug as their own, but why should that prevent me from using it, even if the Thug, in this case, is black. In fact, those in the rap/hip-hop community who use this term often act like thugs so that's even more reason so it strikes me as hypocritical that a small segment of blacks can call themselves thugs, act like thugs but a white person can't call a black person who acts like a thug, a thug. Another way to look at this: If whites have used consistently used the term (Little Black Sambo)to denigrate Blacks, it should be off-limits. If a racially neutral term like Thug has been appropriated by a small segment of Blacks to describe themselves, whites should not be criticized for using the term to describe a thug who happens to be Black. That's way too PC for me. And now back to your regular programming.

posted by cjets at 02:05 PM on October 16

I think you should stop using it, Cjets, because it might cause the motivation for your comment to be misunderstood. SportsFilter aims to be a more thoughtful community of sports enthusiasts than message boards and talk radio, and I think the frequent characterization of black athletes accused of a crime as "thugs" is contrary to that. Check out the past discussions here where the term "thug" was used. In the results that come up first, all the named athletes are black -- Allen Iverson, Elijah Dukes, Sean Taylor, Kenyon Martin, Lonnie Baxter. Do you honestly think that's just a coincidence?

posted by rcade at 02:23 PM on October 16

Nicely done cjets. Is there a more appropriate term for someone who, along with three of his cronies (that's not a slur, is it?), blindsides a professional rival in a completely inappropriate setting? Is it really such a demonstration of bigotry to use that word? I'm sure douchebag applies, but due to the inherently violent nature of the crime, is stops short of being the best word possible. I think the action involved makes thug the perfect word, whether some people see it as racially charged or not.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:29 PM on October 16

I guess I should apologize to all the members of the NAACP that I called Colored People then. George Carlin

posted by Folkways at 02:34 PM on October 16

Anyone can have any opinion you want just stop telling us what our opinion is. Where did that happen? The suggestion has been made "thug" is a racially-charged word and therefore sends discussions in non-productive directions which cause the conversation to veer from the point under discussion. Is that an unfair suggestion? If so, why?

posted by yerfatma at 02:49 PM on October 16

He coined that term himself, and made millions off of doing just that. That was kind of my point, jojo.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:33 PM on October 16

I think you should stop using it, Cjets, because it might cause the motivation for your comment to be misunderstood. It's your site, Rcade, but I think that's PC taken past limits that I feel comfortable with. They are thugs because of their actions, not their race. SportsFilter aims to be a more thoughtful community of sports enthusiasts than message boards and talk radio My aim was to post a thoughtful comment about why I think the term thug is not race based and OK to use even if describing a Black person. I think I did so. As an aside, does anyone else think there's an undeniable racial component to deriding a bunch of black men as thugs? People can say that their actions fit the characterization, but I think it goes further and suggests that they're gangbangers or criminals. Neither of which has been established. This was your original post regarding the subject at hand. You introduced the topic which derailed the thread, asked the question regarding the word and now seem to be dissatisfied with the answer that many of the posters are giving you. (i.e. whether or not the use of the word Thug is appropriate in this case). You state that the word thug suggests they are criminals. I would suggest that the video in which four men beat up on one man suggests that they are criminals, and their actions are deserving of the word thug. On Preview: What Hugh Janus said below.

posted by cjets at 03:58 PM on October 16

But it wasn't a suggestion, yerfatma. It was an assertion, that there was an "undeniable racial component to deriding a bunch of black men as thugs." Maybe we should go back to this departure point and take a look. I'll assume we all watched the video. I'll assume we all saw several men attack one man while he sat at a casino table, drag him to the ground, and beat him. I'll assume we all read the articles about the incident, and can recognize that these men were part of one of the football players in question's entourage, or bodyguard, or group of friends. If they hadn't been throwing punches and dragging a man off a chair, they could fairly (though perhaps insensitively) be described as a "bunch of black men." But in light of what they are doing, they're described as "thugs." Beating someone up is criminal behavior. These guys are called thugs not to point out that all black men are possible criminals, or whatever convenient straw theory fits; they're called thugs because they're engaged in particularly thuggish criminal acts (when I think of thugs, I think of strongarm and shakedown artists as well as streetfight and barbrawl artisans). I say "their actions fit the characterization;" I would go further and say they're criminals. I've seen the videotape. No matter how much you might wish it so, "thug" is not exclusively or even mostly used to describe black men. The idea of coopting it, particularly in a situation where it's being used in its dictionary definition, and making it exclusively a racial slur is insane: don't we have enough of those? It's ridiculous that I can watch video evidence of criminal behavior, comment accurately, using a specific word unladen with racial baggage, and be told I'm using a racial slur; if I didn't do it on purpose, I've hereby been given notice that the definition of "thug" has changed. From now on it refers solely to gangsta rappers. If I use it to describe black people, even in the same situation I might have used it to describe non-black people, I'm no longer using it in ignorance of its new meaning; from now on, if I call someone a thug, I'm a racist. Yeah, I'm putting words in mouths to spell out the argument a little better and see If I have it straight. If I do, it's a heap of censorious stinking bullshit aimed at muzzling and shaming people for no good goddamn reason. If I'm off-base about what's being implied, then I think more than just a couple people are talking past each other here. Either way, it's beneath us to truck this way.

posted by Hugh Janus at 03:59 PM on October 16

You introduced the topic which derailed the thread ... I asked the question 19 hours after the link was posted. I don't think that's an inappropriate point to raise the issue. But it wasn't a suggestion, yerfatma. It was an assertion, that there was an "undeniable racial component to deriding a bunch of black men as thugs." It was phrased as a question, Hugh -- whether other people agree with me that there's an "undeniable racial component" to the term. Making it sound like I called you a racist and am trying to shame and muzzle people is bogus. It's your site, Rcade ... Ugh. That has nothing to do with this. I'm just one member expressing an opinion about a word.

posted by rcade at 04:15 PM on October 16

"Does anyone else think...?" is a question, yes, but it asks if we agree with an assertion. That was my point, but this really doesn't matter. Making it sound like I called you a racist and am trying to shame and muzzle people is bogus. I tried to put that at the end, away from my departure point, to show that these were conclusions I was drawing from the course of the conversation, and the comments of many people. I didn't make that clear, sorry. But if not to point out that use of the specific language is racist (with the eternal unstated component, "racism sucks"), why bring it up? Anyway, I don't want to pick hairs, because I am guilty of a little rhetorical overblowing with the muzzling and the shaming bit, but I proposed my final words as an either/or situation, too: either someone's trying to shame someone else by calling them racist, or many or most of the people involved in this argument are talking past each other. It's probably the latter. Sorry to be so bogus.

posted by Hugh Janus at 04:28 PM on October 16

I'm with rcade. The word thug does have a racial component. It is often used to describe black men who are not criminals or doing anything illegal. That's what makes it racially-charged, not how each individual uses it, but how often it is used in a completely different context than mafia-type behavior to describe black men. Continue to use that word to describe behavior when you think it is appropriate, but just be aware that it raises flags for people because it is so often used as a synonym for black man. You can't really complain that people are misinterpreting your meaning when you know that it is a likely interpretation due to your word choice.

posted by bperk at 04:35 PM on October 16

You introduced the topic which derailed the thread ... I asked the question 19 hours after the link was posted. I don't think that's an inappropriate point to raise the issue. It's not an inappropriate point. Just off topic. It's your site, Rcade ... Ugh. That has nothing to do with this. I'm just one member expressing an opinion about a word. Duly noted. I think this is one of those situations where we're going to have to agree to disagree because when someone says Thug, the mental image in my head is Tony Soprano, not Allen Iverson or Joey Porter (though that may change after this thread).

posted by cjets at 04:39 PM on October 16

It's probably the latter. Sorry to be so bogus. 'Salright. I was just hoping I could tiptoe into this minefield without setting off any explosions.

posted by rcade at 04:47 PM on October 16

Actually I think there has been some insightful conversation on the "thug" topic, and it's even more interesting if you consider we don't know the race of most of the people involved in the discussion. Now, whether it is on topic of the FPP, I'm not so sure. Tangentially, maybe.

posted by hawkguy at 04:52 PM on October 16

from now on, if I call someone a thug, I'm a racist. I don't think that and don't have any particular opinion on member use of the word beyond what I said, that it "sends discussions in non-productive directions which cause the conversation to veer from the point under discussion". I think it catches my ear mainly because what I hear when someone from my parents' generation says "thug" is "young black male who doesn't dress nicely and scares me."

posted by yerfatma at 04:53 PM on October 16

When I hear the term "thug" it has no racial overtones or suggestions whatsoever. I have used the term to describe Bill Romanowski (probably the biggest thug I can think of), Bill Laimbeer, Sammy "the Bull", and many others- some white, some black. I can now add Joey Porter to the list. Tupac and other rappers self describe themselves as "thugz", living the "thug life" to increase record sales and get street cred. If you have a problem with racial overtones of the term, lay the blame where it came from. It is not from those posting on this site, nor how most of us think. I think it catches my ear mainly because what I hear when someone from my parents' generation says "thug" is "young black male who doesn't dress nicely and scares me." When my grandparents use the term, they are usually describing mafioso.

posted by urall cloolis at 05:25 PM on October 16

I think black men occassionally refer to themselves as thugs because they think it's cool in the fashion that "bad" means "good". Most white people I think refer to black men in situations such as thugs because they think it's a loaded insult. And they're upset because there is an awful lot of black men committing violent acts in the media. So they call them thugs as a way to pass judgment while skipping (or avoiding) any direct racism (though reading some of these comments - I can feel some people just begging for a reason to grab the big paintbrush). Seriously, the whole "Well, thug doesn't really relate to a black man at all by the strict definition"- are you folks living under rocks? C'mon - you know the popular reference. But the other side is that I feel that the people who immediately protest the inclusion of the word "thug" with "black men" protest a little too much. Me? I call everyone asshat. But don't let that confuse you - I'm as racist as the next guy.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:52 PM on October 16

Joey Porter is a thug douchebag Do a Google images search for the term "thug". Almost all of the results are pictures of black people. I protest the word douchebag. Do a Google images search for the term "douchebag". Almost all of the results are pictures of white people. Google is so racist.

posted by urall cloolis at 06:52 PM on October 16

To me, the issue isn't as much whether "thug," in reference to a group of black men beating someone up on a casino floor, can be, can't be, is, or isn't an outright or veiled slur (I think it can be); it's whether its use in any case is something to be corrected. I think not, but then, I try to make context and intent clear when I write, and am usually surprised when taken the wrong way. That, to me, is the crux of it: those (certainly few here) who use "thug" as a veiled slur are not the same as those who use it, as a specific term with an etymology and common usage, to describe human behavior. Treating them as if they were the same is wrong and unfair. As far as "thug" is concerned, though, 2Pac had nothing on the 86-87 Baltimore Skipjacks.

posted by Hugh Janus at 07:06 PM on October 16

And where's the love for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:59 PM on October 16

That, to me, is the crux of it: those (certainly few here) who use "thug" as a veiled slur are not the same as those who use it, as a specific term with an etymology and common usage, to describe human behavior. Treating them as if they were the same is wrong and unfair. No, I don't think they ever realize that they are using it as a veiled term. Most people deny that they ever have any racist intentions, and would defend its usage with the same arguments used in this thread. I would bet that chumpn08 invoking Sharpton and Jena though the only possible relation to this topic is that it is related to black people doesn't think that he has racial prejudices. It only takes a few threads like this to reveal people's biases. You can't tell what is in people's heart, so you have to judge them based on what you can observe. I don't think the use of the word thug (or gangsta or words like that) makes anyone a racist. However, the failure to realize that many people using thug here would have used goon if those involved look differently is just ignoring realities. You can choose to use the word and ignore its racial undertones or you can use another term without the baggage.

posted by bperk at 08:19 AM on October 17

My point is that it's not only not necessary for you to judge everyone in this thread, it isn't accurate, either. As you say, you can't tell what's in people's hearts. Knowing that, you still think it's up to you to judge them, not on what they say (which is all we have here), but by a word they used, which might mean to them what you think, but quite possibly and even probably, even in light of the context, doesn't. By doing so, you're actively engaging in discrimination, which is as blind to the individual when it's applied to language as it is when applied to skin color. All the while, those you judge may or may not be passively engaged in it. But it's too late for them; your mind is already closed. It is absolutely true that some of the people using the word "thug" in this thread are using it as a racial epithet, whether they know it or not. But it's not true that all of them are. Deciding that they should change their language, because they might offend someone who's itching to judge them, rings with powerful echoes of the kind of judgment you accuse others of making: just like racism, it's a poor excuse for damning your fellows. But I guess it all boils down to how close you think "thug" is to becoming a term used universally and solely to describe black men. I don't think it is, and I hope it never gets there. It would be a shame to destroy a vibrant, interesting word (and "thug" is a much better word than "goon," really). I gotta say, though, this is a tight spot to argue from, with all these people coming in and making baldly racist comments. It's galling to be lumped in with such ignorance, and it's difficult to make the words of the innocent heard over the clamor of the guilty.

posted by Hugh Janus at 03:22 PM on October 17

Deciding that they should change their language, because they might offend someone who's itching to judge them Whoa, Hugh -- who's reading into people's hearts now? Is making a judgment call about other people's motives okay, or isn't it? I gotta say, though, this is a tight spot to argue from, with all these people coming in and making baldly racist comments. It's galling to be lumped in with such ignorance, and it's difficult to make the words of the innocent heard over the clamor of the guilty. I wouldn't do any such lumping where you're concerned, if it makes you feel any better.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:03 PM on October 17

You're right, lil_brown_bat; it's a tangled web we weave. I'm trying, though, to be more tolerant and stay on the learning curve I've set for myself. Thanks for pointing out my failure. It's easy to get carried away.

posted by Hugh Janus at 04:29 PM on October 17

Deciding that they should change their language, because they might offend someone who's itching to judge them, rings with powerful echoes of the kind of judgment you accuse others of making: just like racism, it's a poor excuse for damning your fellows. I don't think people should change their language because of fear that they will be judged. I would much rather people say what they think because it paints a more accurate picture of what they are about. Judging people based on what they say, what they wear, or who they choose to hang out with are fair game because they are completely within an individual's control (race is not). I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm not judging anyone based on one word. However, I have learned my lesson about trying to have discussions with people with which I have no common ground. After a few threads of complaints about this pc world we live in, railing against Sharpton, accusing someone of pulling the race card, or refusing to acknowledge that racism exists without white sheets, I know not to engage them in any discussion related to race.

posted by bperk at 04:44 PM on October 17

As a Native American I am extremely sensitive to any term that might even remotely appear racist. I have to admit that when I saw the video I said to myself, "who do these thugs think they are"? To me a thug is anyone of any race who participates in andor espouses criminal behavior. What concerned me more than the color of these participants was their blatant disregard for their surroundings and other people. To bring it back to the original topic, I don't understand how this behavior differs in any degree from others who have been banned for x number of games or for the entire season. This has to be at least the equal of six of Pacman's indiscretions. Is Goodell just exhausted by all of the suspensions this year?

posted by irunfromclones at 04:45 PM on October 17

Thanks, IRFC. Seems to be all kind of inconsistency in Goodell's enforcement of the rules, as I alluded to oh so many posts ago. I know I sound like a homer when I bring up the Bengals, but they are the team I follow and, therefore, what I know the most about. This guy is on film assaulting someone. That the recipient of the beating happens to be a professional rival should be largely inconsequential. A felony was committed on film, and yet the aggressor still plays every week. I'm not saying the Bengals who got into trouble are choir boys by any means, but if Porter's offense goes unpunished, you'll really have a hard time convincing me it's fair that J. Joseph, our starting CB, sits a game for a first offense marijuana possesion charge that he has cleared up legally. When Marvin Lewis makes a claim of favoritism and/or discrimination, I don't feel he's completely off base.

posted by tahoemoj at 07:49 PM on October 17

So enough with the racial overtones of the word thug, already. If it will make you feel any better, try using hooligan instead. Of course, this runs the risk of offending sensitive Irishmen (an oxymoron if there ever was one) who participate in our high-level dialogues.

posted by Howard_T at 11:59 PM on October 17

How about "miscreant"? That's a seldom-used word (my dad used it all the time to describe me and my siblings, though).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:29 AM on October 18

No, the term "miscreant" could be construed to apply only to middle-class white kids from New England, and that wouldn't be fair. Of course, now I'm guilty of assuming that you grew up middle class. And in New England.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 08:33 AM on October 18

International soccer fans have a monopoly on hooligan. There's a goldmine of synonyms for thug on Thesaurus.Com. I can only imagine how much richer this discussion would have been if the assailants had been described as malefactors, ruffians or yard birds.

posted by rcade at 08:36 AM on October 18

As the original user of the word "thug" in this thread, I'm flabbergasted. Since all of you know exactly what I meant by that word -- a word which I chose because it exactly fits the sort of behaviour shown by Porter and his gang -- there's no sense going any farther with this. You're mind readers, I'm a racist, and you know me better than me. I'm pretty sure you've already looked into the meaning of thug farther up there. Here's another word you might look into in reference to this thread.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:59 AM on October 18

You're mind readers, I'm a racist, and you know me better than me. You're overreacting. Questioning whether there's a racial connotation to a word does not mean that users of the word are all racists. You're not seeing all of the BS that gets posted here whenever a black athlete is accused of crimes, Frazer. Admins delete the worst of it. That colors the perception. But that's already been talked to death. It's more fun to see the text ads that this discussion has attracted. One is for GayThugDating.Com, which rams home the point that there might in fact quite possibly be a racial aspect to the term thug. (P.s. That site's a total ripoff. I chatted up a hot thug and he turned out to be a white blonde 19-year-old girl.)

posted by rcade at 10:19 AM on October 18

That colors the perception. Ahem. GayThugDating.Com, which rams home the point A-double-hem.

posted by yerfatma at 10:48 AM on October 18

Of course, now I'm guilty of assuming that you grew up middle class. And in New England. Nope, upstate New York. How do you think I ended up as a Yankee fan? Answer: I started out as a Yankee fan. "Idiots" was another of dad's favorite epithets, particularly as used in the phrase, "I have sired a passel of idiots."

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:27 AM on October 18

Here I am tring to be a crybaby homer, and nobody acknowledges it. I guess the discussion has officially left the topic of the post behind for good. Oh, well.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:25 PM on October 18

Who the hell is anyone to tell me I'm overreacting? I'm pissed, that's my reaction. You're not seeing all of the BS that gets posted here whenever a black athlete is accused of crimes, Frazer. Admins delete the worst of it. That colors the perception. This entire thread centers around whether or not the use of the word "thug" is racist or not. I'm the person who used the word. If you pulled out other stuff that was terribly racist, guess what -- now there's no context for the discussion except that comments point back to the guy who used "thug" in the proper context. That definitely colours the perception -- but it's the perception of me that's coloured, not the word. Your own words, the first after I used the word "thug" to describe Porter: As an aside, does anyone else think there's an undeniable racial component to deriding a bunch of black men as thugs? If you want to make gay dating jokes about it now, it doesn't change the fact that a discussion started by you that had absolutely nothing to do with this thread now points back to me in a negative light. Thanks, it's greatly appreciated.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:11 PM on October 18

This entire thread centers around whether or not the use of the word "thug" is racist or not. I brought it up to ask whether the term "thug" has too much racial baggage for it to be used in a thoughtful discussion of a criminal incident involving a black athlete. The use of "thug" on SportsFilter long predates your post, and as I've already said it's almost always used on prominent athletes of one race. My question wasn't about you at all, but to be honest, your first comment is hardly one in which you established a context for calling Porter a "thug douchebag." You just called him a name and wished he'd been shot in the head. If you're going to speak that bluntly, Frazer, you should accept it when other people do the same. Your claim to be defamed is a textbook case of dishing it out without being able to take it.

posted by rcade at 03:45 PM on October 18

The level of personal umbrage people are taking over my question is crazy. It's possible for these two statements to both be true: 1. When SportsFilter member X used the word "thug", he was not making a racial remark in the slightest. 2. The word "thug" has negative racial connotations about black criminality.

posted by rcade at 03:52 PM on October 18

You must admit, though, that your question begs the question, "Why ask if not to point out racism?" Asking that question means I think this is racist; what do you think? at least as often as "thug" means black man. Not to say that either is definitely true or false, but that protestations of innocent questioning for the former and innocent labeling for the latter fall on similarly deaf ears. Is this right? Maybe not, but they're definitely sides of the same coin, and the real frustration and shame lies partly in not acknowledging this, but mostly in not giving people we know careful attention and the benefit of the doubt.

posted by Hugh Janus at 04:55 PM on October 18

I have no problem hearing the word "thug" from people I know, like Frazer. He wasn't expressing prejudice. I didn't ask the question with anyone I know here on SportsFilter in mind. But we get new people all the time, and topics like Michael Vick's legal trouble and this Porter-Jones incident attract them in great number -- always with blistering and ferociously judgmental comments about the athlete. And when I read the word "thug" from them, I think some of them are expressing a thought more ugly than "miscreant." (Some of them even prove it with other comments they make here before they get banned.) As I've said to Frazer in email, I genuinely apologize if I'm not seeing how this has been unfair to him. I extend the same apology to others who are taking it personally. I tried to ask the question as gingerly as I could. My ass is getting handed to me here, and there are a lot of times that's a strong indicator I'm wrong. But in this case, I think people who use the word "thug" should at least consider the possibility it means something different to the audience than it means to you.

posted by rcade at 05:11 PM on October 18

I feel like I've stirred a lot of the shit here, rcade, and I meant it (more and more as the thread progressed) in the spirit of conciliation, as in "We all read and write and interpret things differently," but like I said upthread, I got a little carried away and probably came off more the accuser and blame-meister than I meant; I'm sorry, both for coming on too strong and belaboring the point. Hoist by my own petard, too, and not just once. How 'bout them Skipjacks?

posted by Hugh Janus at 05:28 PM on October 18

You're going to have to explain more fully how your posting that question after I used the word doesn't point directly to me. Perhaps if you had posted something along the line of your "two statements" post, I could understand it. Instead, you went with this: As an aside, does anyone else think there's an undeniable racial component to deriding a bunch of black men as thugs? People can say that their actions fit the characterization, but I think it goes further and suggests that they're gangbangers or criminals. Neither of which has been established. Also, I don't feel I have to justify the context of calling Porter names. This is a sports web site, and I suspect most people already know Porter has a long history of being a jerk, i.e. his on-field taunting, use of homosexual slurs, etc. That's the context, on top of what certainly will be considered criminal activity in the attack on Jones. I think I've been around here long enough for you and other people to know I don't have any problem with blunt talk. I'm speaking bluntly about Porter. If other people speak bluntly about Porter, great. If they want to call me a jerk or an asshole, fine. But your response -- which had nothing to do with the topic, and no one else had said a word about racial anything -- flat says you think using the word is racist. By extension, how does that not make me a racist? I take no personal umbrage at your posing the question. You just posed it in a position to make it a shot at me. Is that so hard to see? On preview: Hugh's reading it exactly as I am. I haven't read your email yet, Rogers, but I am winding down a bit at this point. I know you didn't mean it the way I'm reading it, but that doesn't mean the other bajillion people sliding through for the first time aren't reading it in exactly the same way I am. I'll answer you privately after I eat some of my wife's chicken parmesan. I'll feel more cuddly for sure.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:36 PM on October 18

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